“We will Protect Farmers’ Incomes”

“We will protect farmers’ incomes”, declared Minister for Rural Development Sándor Fazekas.

He stated that the meeting had been about the future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), but since no agreement had been reached at last week’s EU summit on the budget for the period 2014 to 2020, and within that on the level of agricultural support funding, the Agriculture Ministers were only able to make headway with regard to a few specific areas. Despite this, there was agreement at the meeting on the fact that agriculture is the sector for the future and that investments made within the framework of the CAP “are also investments in the future, since the food production of the continent depends on agriculture”, said Sándor Fazekas. The Minister also reported on the fact that the discussions had also touched on the subject of market regulation, including the sugar quota system and grapevine planting rights, and that with regard to the Common Agricultural Policy, the draft regulation on so-called greening, i.e. putting more emphasis on environmental criteria, had also been on the agenda. Hungary, Sándor Fazekas confirmed, has an interest in maintaining the sugar quota system. The objective of Hungary “is to guarantee the existing level of production and to increase the quota system to level that assures self-sufficiency”. With regard to grapevine planting rights, the Minister continues, Hungary also has an interest in maintaining the current system, because this is what guaranteed the production of suitably high quality wine. Sándor Fazekas referred to the danger that without the regulation of planting rights, the EU’s southern states would be at a disproportionate advantage. There will be further discussion on this issue in December, he said. According to Sándor Fazekas, the issue of greening generated a heated debate between the Ministers. “We are committed to a flexible solution that includes regulations such as that those involved in agricultural ecological farming programmes should be exempt from greening requirements”, the Minister for Rural Development said. Sándor Fazekas stressed that the solutions to these issues also depends on the future budget of the Common Agricultural Policy. “We may have to struggle to stop a decrease in funding, because there are certain member states that want to cut available funding for agricultural policy”, he said.

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